Updated: OGC has ‘no remit’ to produce and develop ITIL

The Office of Government Commerce has no core public remit to develop the ITIL methodology and needs to open the market for PRINCE2 project guidance, according to a report by the Office of Public Sector Information.

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The Office of Government Commerce has no core public remit to develop the ITIL methodology and needs to open the market for PRINCE2 project guidance, according to a report by the Office of Public Sector Information.

OPSI, which is part of the National Archives and is responsible for Crown Copyright, said that the OGC had admitted that producing and developing ITIL was not its core remit. It noted in its report that ITIL addressed ongoing IT service management issues, but the OGC is geared instead towards “procurement, project and programme management”.

The OGC had argued that it inherited ITIL, like PRINCE, from the CCTA which was absorbed into the OGC and therefore the two methodologies cannot form part of its public task. But OPSI said this was “not a strong” argument.

In the report, OPSI said that the OGC had “stated unambiguously that it had no policy remit in the area of IT service management”. It added that “this begs the question as to why it sponsors the proprietary service management guides”.

In its submission for the report, the OGC said it has "no policy, best practice, or delivery remit in relation to the subject matter covered by ITIL".

An OGC spokesperson has since told ComputerworldUK that it owns the copyright to ITIL, and feels a "responsibility" to "protect" it.

The concept of service catalogues, which lie at the heart of the ITIL methodology, is likely to be of increasing importance as organisations try to develop private clouds and drive down IT costs.

ITIL appears only in “sub-pages” on the OGC website, OPSI said, and is not a “core” responsibility and therefore “does not form part of OGC’s public task”.

The comments come in an investigation report on a complaint by Van Haren Publishing, a specialist publisher of information on project and IT service management, which complained about the fairness of the market for publishing data and guides on the methodologies.

Nevertheless, because ITIL was judged as being outside the OGC’s core remit, the report does not address the fairness of the ITIL market. An Information Fair Trader verification will take place later this year, assessing certain issues. But the statement of ITIL being outside the core remit of the OGC is nevertheless unambiguous.

In the report, OPSI concluded that the OGC needs to open the market for PRINCE2 project methodology guidance.

The OGC had wrongly given its own publisher, The Stationery Office (TSO), a substantial advantage over others, OPSI said.

The OGC, which advises government departments on procurement, was told it needs to allow rival publishers a fixed embargo period to prepare books on derivative subjects, to be ready for when the OGC releases its own. It also needed to clarify the position on reusing derivative and complementary material.

It acknowledged that PRINCE is a core role for OGC, because the body is focused on government projects and PRINCE has become the “standard” government project methodology. But it ordered the changes to PRINCE2 publishing within six months, in order to make the market fairer.

However, OPSI concluded that arguments over trademarks and use of the word “official” were outside the scope of the complaint, and allegations of anti-competitive behaviour referred to the conduct of a third-party “not relevant” to the dispute. The licensing was also straightforward, it said.

An OGC spokesperson said that the office “continues to operate the delegation of licensing rights from the Office of Public Sector Information in accordance with their rules”.

“We have already implemented a number of the recommendations made within the report and are confident that we will put into action the remaining recommendations by the deadline.”

The spokesperson added: “We own the copyright to the ITIL materials and therefore have a responsibility to look after and protect it."

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